Cheating in a relationship can come with a lot of devastation. Whether you’ve been cheated on or are the one doing it, you’re both bound to feel a barrage of tough emotions. Bottom line, it hurts! While some couples are able to rebuild trust after cheating, others find it too difficult to move past such a betrayal.
So, why do people cheat, anyway? While infidelity is never excusable, there are some common reasons why it happens:
1. Feeling Neglected
If someone feels undervalued or underappreciated in a relationship, they may become distant. Their feelings of loneliness may lead them to someone else outside of the relationship, resulting in cheating.
If you’re feeling neglected in a relationship, it’s so important to talk to your partner about it, no matter how difficult it might be. Being honest about your needs and the attention you desire can allow you to feel more supported in your relationship, which eliminates the temptation of looking outside the relationship.
2. Self-Esteem Issues
A lack of self-esteem causes a severe lack of confidence, which can lead someone to seek validation outside of the relationship. Identifying insecurities and their root cause can help you rebuild confidence and self-worth, making you more confident in your relationship.
3. Different Sexual Desires/Libidos
Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common occurrence for someone to cheat because of sexual frustration. If one partner has a higher sex drive than their partner, it can lead to infidelity to fulfill unmet needs. The solution? Talk to each other. You and your partner need to openly discuss your sex life on a regular basis. Are you both feeling satisfied? Are you open to trying new things? These are just a couple of the questions to bring up to avoid infidelity.
4. Unmet Needs
Having sex on a daily basis doesn’t mean much if bedroom needs aren’t being met. Different desires are normal, and the key to ensuring they’re met is to have an open discussion about them. Talking about what you want might be uncomfortable, but it’s important to be honest. (And if you’re truly with the right person, they will support whatever it is you need—within reason, of course.)
5. Needing Variety
As upsetting as it can be, certain people (no matter how happy they are in a relationship) cheat on their partners out of a need to experience variety. There may not be anything wrong, they just need more. In this case, they might not be the right fit for a monogamous relationship (and that’s okay). What’s not okay is cheating because of it. If you’re feeling like you need to explore an open or polyamorous relationship, be honest about it—it’ll save you both from any hurt feelings.
6. Thrill Seeking
Sometimes people cheat because of deep-seated thrill seeking behavior. Knowing that something is wrong or taboo is exciting and can lead to infidelity, even if they are in a happy relationship. You could try different, more exciting things in the bedroom, but even that might not be enough for someone eager to defy normalcy. Partners could consider opening up their relationship to add an element of thrill, or it might be that you’re simply not right for each other. Openly discussing what you need is the only way to determine that.
7. Lack of Clarity
Are you in a committed, monogamous relationship, or is it more of a casual thing? (Or do you have no idea?) If you’re unsure of where you stand as a couple, cheating is more likely to occur. This is why it’s so important to be direct with each other! Talk about what you’re looking for in the relationship and where you see it going.
8. Insecurity About the Future
If you’re not on the same page about the future of your relationship, infidelity is more likely to occur. This typically happens in one-sided relationships, when one person is less invested than the other. Addressing this problem will involve open communication about your relationship (the good and the bad) so that you are on the same page.
9. Sexual Desire for Another Person
The most obvious reason for cheating is simple: you’re sexually attracted to someone else. Maybe you had one too many drinks at the bar with someone new, or you meet them out of the blue at the mall—either way, your sexual attraction to someone else can lead to infidelity. Of course, no one is powerless in these types of situations, and they typically point to underlying problems in the relationship. (Which means it might be time to have a talk about where you stand.)
No reason for cheating is ever justified, and this one is probably the worst. Some partners cheat on their significant others when they’re mad as a way to “get back” at them. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to bring up anger you have about your partner in a mature, communicative way so that these feelings don’t fester and manifest in infidelity.
We like to think that infidelity only happens in a broken, unhappy relationship, but the truth is that infidelity can occur even among happy couples. While cheating is never excusable, it’s still important to understand some of the reasons people feel compelled to do so. Addressing these types of issues early on can help prevent infidelity and heartbreak.